Three Words for 2019- 3 mins
Instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions, I like to think about the principles and values I’m currently falling short of in my life and see how I can improve upon them. This year, the three words that will guide me are engage, patience, and depth.
Being engaged means being fully present. It means being there for my friends, even when I feel busy. It means that when I call my family, I’m not just rattling off what I have to do next—instead, I just enjoy talking to them and share a precious moment. Engaging means not just sitting in lecture and letting the professor’s words wash over me, but continually asking questions and going beyond what is expected.
Being engaged means returning to who I was before my sense of self-consciousness overshadowed my curiosity. It means continually asking why instead of being content with the answers given. It means creating, discovering, and wondering.
Patience means learning to walk before I run, to run before I fly. It means knowing I’m in for a marathon, and doing the adequate training in order to prevent injury. Patience means diligence, hard work, and self-care.
I feel a great sense of urgency to not be mediocre. While this has led me to hustle, it has also led to anxiety—especially when I expect a lot from myself and fall short of my expectations. I’ve always had the mindset of doing the things I’m afraid of, but I’ve now realized the importance of laying a strong foundation in everything I do instead of just reaching for what I want.
I feel the need to achieve career success before I get married and settle down and have kids, because I’m scared that when I settle down, I will lose my ambition and cease to live out my dreams. I now realize that my fears are completely untrue, and I have to be patient and trust the process. I shouldn’t inflict an arbitrary deadline on myself—life is a long, non-linear process. Success is a culmination of years of failure, and patience is the only way through. I also need to realize that failure is a simply a door closing that allows you to use your finite resources to explore better doors.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing an existential crisis pretty much every day; while questioning allows me to better examine my life, my thoughts sometimes cross the line where they becomes more harmful than helpful. Instead of thinking about how my decisions will affect me in ten or twenty years, I want to focus on what is hand.
I want to be patient with myself and with others—to not expect too much and instead be content with who I am, at this moment.
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I read about everything from to dogs, to black holes, to humans morphing into animals. Lately, I realized something incredibly sad: I can’t read anymore. I read blogs and essays, and texts assigned for school, but I lost my ability to fall deeply into a book the way I did when I was younger. I no longer read to feel, to imagine, to discover. This year, I want to rediscover reading by letting myself fall deeply into books, especially fiction. I recently got a Kindle even though I prefer physical books, since I realized that it’s better to read more with an e-book than to read less with paper books. So far, the Kindle has served me well, and I look forward to using it more in the coming year.
Depth also means having the ability to do deep work. As Cal Newport writes, deep work is incredibly important to achieving mastery in any field. Deep work is also tied to engaging and being patient with success.
To me, depth also means not following the status quo. This year, I want to focus more on developing sound principles based on a strong value system.
2018 has been a tremendous journey of self-discovery—filled with everything from deep fulfillment, existential confusion, and overwhelming appreciation. By engaging with my environment, being patient with myself and others, and doing deep work, I look forward to 2019.